Imagine biting into a succulent, savory pork chop that has been grilled to perfection with fragrant lemongrass and a sweet-savory marinade. That is what awaits you with this recipe for Suon Nuong, Vietnamese grilled pork chops.
As a chef specializing in Vietnamese and Asian cuisine, I can tell you that Suon Nuong is a classic Vietnamese dish you don’t want to miss out on. This flavorful grilled pork chop marinated in nuoc nam, soy sauce, sugar, and garlic is everything you want in a dish: tender meat bursting with juicy flavors, combined with the irresistible aroma of lemongrass.
In this recipe article, I’ll walk you through how to create the ideal Suon Nuong, including some tips for perfect results, serving and pairing suggestions, and substitutions and variations options for your preference. Trust me; your taste buds will thank you.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Have you ever craved the flavors of Vietnam but don’t want to travel all the way to Southeast Asia? Well, I’ve got a treat for you! Introducing my suon nuong recipe, also known as Vietnamese pork chops. These chops are so flavorful and juicy that they’ll transport your taste buds straight to the bustling streets of Hanoi.
So why will you love this recipe? For starters, it’s easy to make. With just a few simple ingredients and my step-by-step instructions, you’ll have some sweet and savory grilled pork chops in no time. Plus, you can even prepare the marinade the night before to let those chops soak up all of that delicious flavor overnight.
But what really sets this recipe apart is the blend of flavors. The marinade includes classic Vietnamese ingredients such as lemongrass, fish sauce, and soy sauce, which combine to create a mouthwatering aroma that will fill your kitchen. Plus, the addition of sugar adds just the right amount of sweetness to balance out the savory notes.
And once those chops hit the grill, they transform into a tender and juicy masterpiece with crispy edges that will leave you begging for more. You can serve them with cooked white rice or broken rice (cơm tấm) and some fresh herbs, like cilantro or mint, for a refreshing contrast.
Overall, my suon nuong recipe is an easy-to-make yet flavorful Vietnamese classic that will satisfy any craving for Southeast Asian cuisine. So why not try it out for yourself? Your taste buds will thank you!
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make Suon Nuong, a classic Vietnamese grilled pork chops recipe:
- Pork chops (preferably bone-in)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 stalks lemongrass, minced
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- Ground black pepper
- Cooked white rice for serving
Note: You can find lemongrass in most Asian grocery stores or sometimes in the fresh herb section of your local grocery store. If fresh lemongrass is not available, you can use frozen or dried lemongrass. Also, make sure to get the right type of soy sauce, as it makes a big difference. Dark soy sauce has a thicker consistency and adds color and flavor to the dish.
The Recipe How-To
Here’s the fun part- making the suon nuong!
Step 1: Marinate the Pork Chops
Take out your pork chops and place them in a bowl. Now, time for the marination process. In the bowl with pork chops, add 1 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp fish sauce, 2 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tsp ground black pepper. Stir well so that each chops are coated with this marinade evenly. Cover the bowl and let it rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour to soak up those delicious flavours.
Step 2: Prepare the Lemongrass
While waiting for the pork chops to soak up marinade, get on with preparations of lemongrass. Take two stalks of lemongrass, cut off the woody bottom and top parts. Remove tough outer layers until you get to a pale yellow inner layer. Thinly slice this layer and put them in mortar or food processor.
Step 3: Combine all ingredients
In mortar or food processor with sliced lemongrass, add minced 2 garlic cloves, 1 shallot and roughly pound or process until it becomes paste like consistency. To this paste, add 1 tbsp dark soy sauce, 1 tbsp nuoc mam, and 1 tbsp sugar to create a uniform paste with desired thickness. Pour the mix into small bowl and reserve.
Step 4: Grill the Pork Chops
After an hour is up, take out marinated pork chops from fridge and set aside for twenty minutes before putting on grill. *
Make sure your grill is hot so that your vietnamese grilled pork chops cook evenly; temperature around 375 F is recommended. When you put them down on grill, be sure not to flip it over too soon, wait at least 3-4 minutes before flipping over so that there’s nice browning on one side. Once flipped over, brush the lemongrass paste liberally over cooked and uncooked sides of pork chops. Move the chops around, flip them over periodically, and brush the paste several times on each side while cooking. Keep doing this until both sides are perfectly covered with the aromatic paste and fully cooked, approximately 5-7 minutes total.
Step 5: Serve and Enjoy
After your chops are fully cooked, take them off the grill and put them on plate. Now, they’re ready to enjoy! I recommend serving with jasmine rice or cơm tấm (broken rice) and some steamed vegetables.
Substitutions and Variations
As a chef, I know that everyone has different tastes and dietary restrictions. That’s why I am always on the hunt for ingredient substitutions and variations to suit any individual’s needs. Here are some substitutions and variations for my Suon Nuong recipe:
– Pork chops: You can substitute pork shoulder, loin, or spare ribs in this recipe. These cuts of meat work well with the marinade and will give a similar flavor to the chops.
– Lemongrass: If you can’t find fresh lemongrass, use 2 teaspoons of lemongrass paste or 1 tablespoon of grated lemon zest as a substitute.
– Fish sauce: Soy sauce, oyster sauce, or Worcestershire sauce can be used as a substitute for fish sauce if you’re allergic to fish or are vegetarian.
– Sugar: You can use honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar as a substitute for sugar in this recipe if you prefer a natural sweetener.
– Broken rice: Com Tam is made with broken rice but if broken rice isn’t accessible where you live, jasmine rice works well.
– Vegetarian option: You can replace pork with tofu or mushrooms like shiitake, portobello or button mushroom. The cooking time will vary so keep an eye out for it!
Experimenting with these substitutions and variations can completely alter the flavor profile of the dish while still maintaining its authenticity. However, keep in mind that substituting ingredients can lead to changes in texture and taste, so make sure to do some experimentation beforehand to get your preferred taste. Through these suggestions, have fun and unleash your creativity whilst cooking Suon Nuong!
Serving and Pairing
When it comes to serving Suon Nuong, it is essential to keep in mind the perfect pairing. The best way to serve these pork chops is with a side of cooked white rice or broken rice, also known as Cơm Tấm, which is a staple of Vietnamese cuisine. The sweet and savory grilled pork pairs exceptionally well with the delicate rice grains and creates a harmonious flavor combination.
Add a vegetable dish as a side such as stir-fried green beans or bok choy for color, crunch and nutrition. Vietnamese pickled vegetables such as pickled carrots or daikon radish on the side will add a fresh sourness that effectively cuts through the rich and meaty flavor of the pork chops.
If you’re looking to create an authentic Vietnamese dining experience at home, add a fried egg on top of the Suon Nuong and additional Nuoc Nam or sweet chili sauce on the side to enhance its natural sweetness.
A refreshing beer or cold glass of white wine would complement the dish well due to its potent lemongrass, garlic and fish sauce flavors. For non-alcoholic options, opt for coconut water or sugar cane juice that would take you on an instant virtual tropical vacation.
Remember, Suon Nuong isn’t just for dinner – leftovers make an excellent breakfast. Heat up leftover Suon Nuong in a pan and add fried egg on top along with some Sriracha mayo for an exciting breakfast twist.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Once you’ve cooked up a batch of these delicious Suon Nuong (Vietnamese Pork Chops), you may want to think about making some extra for later. These pork chops are perfect for make-ahead meals, and they can be stored in the fridge or freezer for future use.
If you’re planning on serving your pork chops later in the week, simply cook them as instructed and let them cool to room temperature. Once cooled, store the chops in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
If you’re looking to store your Suon Nuong longer than four days, consider freezing them instead. Place the cooled pork chops in a freezer-safe bag or container and put them in the freezer. They will stay fresh for up to three months.
When reheating your Suon Nuong, it’s crucial not to overcook them, as this will dry out the meat and cause it to lose its juiciness and flavor. To reheat, preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C or medium heat (if using the grill or stovetop) and place the pork chops on a baking tray or grill pan. Reheat for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
Alternatively, you can reheat your Suon Nuong by microwaving them on high for two minutes. However, be sure to cover the pork chops with damp paper towels first to prevent them from drying out.
With these tips for make-ahead meals and reheating, you’ll be able to enjoy succulent Vietnamese grilled pork chops anytime you like!
Tips for Perfect Results
Cooking perfect Vietnamese pork chops takes practice and attention to detail. Here are some tips to ensure your Suon Nuong turns out flavorful, juicy, and delicious every time:
1. Marinate for at least two hours
The secret to tender and savory grilled pork chops lies in their marinade. Marinate the pork chops for at least two hours, or even overnight, to allow the flavors of lemongrass, garlic, sugar, and fish sauce to penetrate the meat fully.
2. Score the pork chops
Before grilling your pork chops, score them by making small cuts across the surface of the meat. This will help break down the connective tissues and allow the marinade to seep in more efficiently.
3. Use a charcoal grill
For authentic Vietnamese grilled lemongrass pork flavor, cook your pork chops on a charcoal grill. The smoky aroma from the charcoal enhances the taste of the meat while giving it a nice char on the outside.
4. Don’t overcook the meat
Pork chops cook quickly on a hot grill, so keep an eye on them to prevent overcooking. You want your Suon Nuong to be slightly pink in the middle (between 145-160°F), juicy, and tender.
5. Let Pork Chops Rest
After cooking your Suon Nuong, let them rest for a few minutes before slicing or serving. Allowing the meat to rest redistributes its juices and keeps it moist.
By following these simple tips, you’ll be able to create savory grilled Vietnamese pork chops that are sweet, savory, and bursting with flavor.
As I’ve shared the recipe and tips on how to cook Suon Nuong, you may have some questions before trying it out. Therefore, here are some frequently asked questions about this Vietnamese Pork Chop dish along with their answers to help you in your cooking endeavors.
What is the secret to moist pork chops?
To ensure succulent pork chops, it’s crucial to incorporate fat into the cooking process. A great way to do this is by basting the chops with butter while cooking. For enhanced taste, infuse the fat with aromatic herbs or garlic as you would with a steak. Doing this not only adds flavor but also yields crispy herbs and garlic to layer over the meat for a polished presentation.
What type of meat is Nem Nuong?
If you’re looking for a delicious Vietnamese dish to add to your recipe collection, Nem Nướng is a great choice. This meal consists of pork skewers that are both sweet and savory with a smoky flavor, and can be cooked on a BBQ, oven or stove.
How to make pork chops very tender?
Preparing delicious pork chops may seem challenging, but with the right techniques, you can create a mouthwatering dish. It’s important to choose thick-cut bone-in pork chops, as thin ones tend to be difficult to sear properly while also cooking through. While a brine isn’t necessary, use a generous amount of seasoning to make sure the flavor is delicious. Once the pork chops are cooked, giving them a little bit of time to rest is essential for the juices and flavor to soak in. Searing over medium-high heat is the perfect way to get a crispy outside while keeping the inside moist and tender. Nicely basting the chops is also important to ensure that the flavors are well-distributed in the meat. Once the pork chops have had time to rest once more, they’ll be ready to serve and enjoy.
Should you soak pork chops in milk before cooking?
Tenderizing pork and other meats can be effectively achieved through the milk brining method. This technique facilitates the infusion of your desired flavors into the proteins and also helps keep the meat moist when cooked.
In conclusion, suon nuong is a flavorful Vietnamese classic that is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. This sweet and savory grilled pork chop recipe is easy to make and can be customized to suit your tastes. Whether you’re serving it with cooked white rice, com suon, or broken rice, the succulent flavors of suon nuong are sure to leave you wanting more.
So why not impress your friends and family with this delicious and authentic Vietnamese dish? With these detailed instructions, tips, and recommendations, anyone can make suon nuong like a pro. Now go forth and let your taste buds explore the bold flavors of Vietnamese grilled lemongrass pork chops!
Suon Nuong (Vietnamese Pork Chops) Recipe
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/3 cup shallot, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup lemongrass, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons nuoc nam
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 lb pork chop, pounded thin (cut 1/4 inch thick)
- 6 cups cooked white rice
- nuoc cham sauce, for serving (Vietnamese chili-garlic sauce)
- Heat 1/2 cup of sugar in a 1-qt heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, swirling pan often, until sugar dissolves and turns to liquid caramel.
- Remove from heat; add 1/4 cup boiling water. Return pan to heat; cook, swirling pan gently, until caramel dissolves in water.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- Transfer to a food processor along with remaining sugar, shallots, lemongrass, oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, pepper, and garlic; puree until smooth.
- Place pork chops in a 9″ × 13″ baking dish and pour over puree; cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
- Heat a 12″ cast-iron grill pan over high heat. Working in batches, add chops; cook, turning once, until charred in spots and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately with rice and chili-garlic sauce.